But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 2 Cor. 4:7
I never appreciated how powerful this statement was until I understood how prone we as humans are to two things in particular:
- We are prone to sinning; and
- Taking credit for each and everything that we accomplish.
Actually, I never thought much about this scripture until I began noticing how truly weak I was. I could be up in the heavens one minute (holiness-wise); and the next I would fall so far and so hard I would need to be resuscitated, so to speak. And yet, still, whenever I scored a victory in the good fight of faith I found myself thinking, “Oh, how good I am!” or “How well I have done that!”
In fact, thinking that we are something is one of the greatest weaknesses we have. But the Bible states here exactly who or what we are: mere earthen vessels. What insight the Apostle Paul had into the wisdom of God!
Earthen vessels. Earthen vessels are things that are made of clay; and things that are made of clay are fragile and easily breakable. Now, if that doesn’t talk tons about our character! We are liable to sin at the drop of a heart, have you ever noticed that? We are so weak! And the Apostle Paul tells us this realization comes to us to the end that we might give “the excellency of the power” to God. When God gives you the grace to see things in the Spirit as Paul saw them here, you will be giving all the glory and honor and power to God with all your heart. You will be praising Him every minute of your life.
In a sense, “earthen vessels” points to the cross. It talks of our willingness to be broken and moulded, in order that we might be fit to carry God’s treasure in us. But this moulding is a work which can happen only when we have allowed our lives to be crucified. A soft and malleable spirit is what allows God to accomplish this work in us.
And let me tell you that, once you accept the fact that you are nothing but a mere “earthen vessel” to be broken, you have locked onto God’s perspective of things. From there onwards, any victory, any good thing that comes to you will be credited back to God, and this gives God the glory.
But notice also that this scripture mentions “the excellency of the power… of God”.
Anywhere you see the word “power” mentioned in the Bible in relation to us, beware. It references the cross, for the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:18 that the preaching of the cross is the power of God to those who are called.
Actually, “the excellency of the power… of God” is the subject of the Bible. If there is atomic power then there is the power of God. And the power of God does things that no other power can. It changes us. It transforms us from being nothing to becoming God’s powerhouses. We declare and showcase the power of God in our lives. Sin – powerful sin – and all the works of Satan are broken and they lie powerless at our feet. One day, even death itself will be defeated in our lives. That is the power of God at work in us. And this transformation is the “treasure” that Paul is talking of. The “treasure” is our sinless life.
There is only one way to experience this power and hence have this treasure in you: nail your flesh to the cross. Give up who you are; give up your rights as you consider Christ’s example. You will never experience the power of God if you are holding onto your life.
But if you let go your life and allow God to deal with you as one deals with an earthen vessel, you will experience the power of God in your life and you will carry God’s hidden treasure in you.